SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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April 10, 2014

Man gets probation for assaulting Middleton woman

(Continued)

In a letter sent to Kinyanjuy a few weeks after his arrest and detention without bail, the woman apologized for being a “drama queen” and sent him money to purchase items from the canteen at Middleton Jail, where he’s spent the past 11 months.

Prosecutor Karen Hopwood said the woman has suffered from low self-esteem, made worse by the incident, during which she thought she might die.

And she’s isolated herself, in part due to the reaction of many others in Kinyanjuy’s African immigrant community, among them nurses she was supervising at the time. She felt forced to quit her position as a result of that response.

Lowy had strong words for those who tried to discredit or blame the woman, saying that the defendant’s admission in court ought to convince them that he is responsible for what happened.

That admission came only after protracted discussions among the judge, Kinyanjuy and Buso, however.

At first, when asked if he had committed an assault and battery, Kinyanjuy balked, claiming he’d “tried to calm her down.”

“I’m not putting the defendant on probation for a crime he says he didn’t commit,” Lowy said.

After a break in the proceedings, the defendant and Buso returned.

Lowy stressed that he would accept only an admission that the charges were true and would not go along with an “Alford” plea, in which a defendant does not admit guilt but agrees to plead guilty based on the evidence against him.

Such dispositions of court cases “have an incredibly pernicious effect in domestic violence cases,” Lowy said.

Eventually, Kinyanjuy admitted that he had grabbed her, enough to support the assault and battery charge.

The judge said he would go along with the plea agreement based on the recommendation of Hopwood, a prosecutor whose judgment he said he trusted, and the victim’s willingness to support the deal.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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